First love


[For my Fall 2021 Italian Writing Workshop at Florida Atlantic University, I assigned a composition titled Primo amoreFirst Love. My student Calli Abisognio wrote, wonderfully, about Italian Language. I asked her to translate her work from Italian to her native language, English, so that everybody can enjoy it. Emanuele Pettener]

When this lingua rolls off of my lingua,it makes me tremble with pleasure, with elegance, with satisfaction. The saliva melts as I pronounce the words sweetly, slowly, musically. I play a song with my mouth. Every syllable is a note, every sentence a verse, every speech a song. It is like seducing the listener every time it happens—every time I speak the Italian language.

They say that the Italian language is the most romantic and musical language in the world. And it is true—whenever I fall in love with someone for a moment, I imagine what I want to do to her. And I often daydream of finding a woman who does not speak Italian, so that I can softly whisper sweet nothings in the Italian language in her ear: words that gift shivers, inviting words. And you can hear that saliva that melts in my mouth clearly in your ear behind every seductive syllable.

True love had never burst within me before I encountered the Italian language. In May 2016, I was 16 years old, and I heard a song in Italian for the first time. From then on, my life would change forever. The sound of this language pulses in my veins like the song of a siren who tempts me. A person can disappear in a moment, or she can grow old. But the Italian language never grows old. It will remain beautiful, and all mine, forever.

However, in my opinion, if it were a human with a lifespan, it would be a woman, not a man. This is why I almost always use a feminine form to describe the language in Italian instead of using the basic masculine form. Women know how to seduce in a subdued way. Her scent would have many layers, one after the other that reveal her beauty over time, just like all the beautiful words and infinite synonyms that you learn over time that enrich the significance of a sentence. She would wear pink powder on her face, ‘cause she makes me blush. She would be a woman who takes control when she enters into a room, but she would do it quietly. She would be a woman full of contradictions, like the senseless Italian grammatical rules, but nobody would care because she is so beautiful, and each one of us would want to be with her.

Speaking the language has made me more beautiful, too. Before my journey with this language, I remained home with a pallid face and lips devoid of color. But now when I go out, I have become livelier, and I change personality a bit. When I speak the Italian language, especially on the days when I speak very well and fluently, I feel like I am the best version of myself. And I want to seduce, and I can seduce, but especially when she, the Italian language, helps me do it. She holds a richness and softness at the same time, and my body reacts a lot when I speak the Italian language.

I become more beata, in such a way that only a woman can be, because Dante gifted me this word when I read the Divine Comedy. And there is No Degree of Separation between me and the listener when I speak the Italian language, like the song that made me fall in love with the Italian language five years ago, that song by Francesca Michielin with the sophisticated melody that vibrates elegantly on the skin.

Some time ago, I wrote a poem for the Italian language, but it was not enough for me. I would write an ocean of words for the Italian language, in the Italian language, because I would like to utilize all the magnificent words I can, and I want to show her how much I love her. Sometimes, the fact that it’s impossible to learn every word possible kills me inside. I would like to have the richest Italian vocabulary possible, so I can express my love for this language in a very precise way.

And just a little bit of this language that arrests me so much is not enough for me. I would like to speak it all the time. I want to always continue to make love to that first love of mine, the beautiful Italian language, every time I speak. I want to speak, I want to understand, I want to learn, and I want to love her forever. And I loved her, and I love her, and I will love her more than every person in the world. Because I am a pensive person who is full of loneliness, and late at night, her and her unlimited words are there for me when I need them, and I think that is true and unique love. Now, after all these years with her, the Italian language makes me forget every human who I considered my first love in the past. The Italian language is the only love that remains and that will remain with me forever.

On the cover : illustration by Barbara Di Bernardo

You can read it in italian by clicking here

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